Monday, February 6, 2023 Feb 6, 2023
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A Daily Conversation About Dallas

Last Updated, 2/3, 5:45 p.m.

The man who the Dallas Police Department suspected had information about two missing emperor tamarin monkeys from the Dallas Zoo has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty related to their abduction.

Davion Irvin, 24, was taken into custody Thursday night after investigators received a tip that he was at the Dallas World Aquarium near the animal exhibits. He was apprehended and taken to police headquarters for questioning after officers saw him get onto a DART train and exit at the 1400 block of Pacific Ave.

He is charged with six counts of animal cruelty and two counts of burglary of a building, but police said Friday that other charges may be forthcoming. Irvin has been booked into the Dallas County Jail, and his bond is set at $25,000.

Local News

Leading Off (2/3/23)

Matt Goodman
By |

Give the Roads a Few Hours Before You Use Them. It rained for much of the evening—not heavily, but enough to splatter on the roads and refreeze the progress we made on Thursday. They’re bad enough that Dallas ISD scrapped school today after all. WFAA reports standstills on the George Bush Tollway near Preston Road and notes that many bridges and overpasses are ice rinks. Dallas-Fire Rescue responded to 135 accidents overnight, just in time for “freezing fog” to settle in over the metro area. The good news: temperatures will rise quickly, ascending into the low 50s by 3 p.m. And it’ll be sunny. That should be enough to clear the roads before temperatures again fall into the low 30s overnight. Saturday, you’re looking at a cloudy low of 33 and a high of 55. Sunday will be sunny with a low of 42 and a high of 63. What’s another few hours inside, if you can?

Mavs Squeak Out a Mess of a Game. But lost Luka to an apparent heel injury in the third quarter. That’s when the Pelicans began chipping away at what was a Mavericks 31 point lead. Brandon Ingram settled in as the Pels outscored the Mavs by 24 in the second half. Josh Green was basically Dallas’ only form of offense late in the game; too many possessions ended in go-nowhere dribbling and bailout midrange jumpers. The Mavs won 111-106, but it wasn’t encouraging. They’re 0-6 in full games without Luka, and the second half was a reminder of why.

Zoo Promises ‘Significant’ Changes. The official statement says the Dallas Zoo will add more cameras, “additional security technology,” more fencing, more security patrols, and additional overnight staffing. The facility is still reeling after a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys were stolen from the zoo and turned up safe and sound in an abandoned house in Lancaster.

Last Updated, 2/2, 5:30 p.m.

Temperatures reached the mid-30s Thursday as precipitation finally moves out of the area, but we’ll have to wait for Friday’s sunshine and much warmer temperatures to fully clear the roads. Meteorologists expect many streets to re-freeze after the sun goes down.

Meteorologist Hunter Reeves with the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office said the good news is that well-traveled main roads and highways were fairly passable for much of Thursday—it’s the side streets that will remain question marks.

“We have well-traveled roads and highways that are doing pretty well and spots like overpasses that are a bit slushy,” he said Thursday morning. “Less traveled roads like side streets will take a bit longer. They will see more improvement Friday when temperatures are in the 40s.”

Reeves said that while the wintry precipitation is moving out of North Texas, any roads that still have slush or puddles will refreeze Thursday night, meaning Friday morning commutes should proceed with caution, too.

And for what it’s worth, the NWS Fort Worth team is ready for all this weather to be over, too.

“We’re very happy this is moving out,” Reeves said, chuckling. “It’s been a long week.”

Local News

Leading Off (2/2/23)

Bethany Erickson
By |

Man Convicted of Killing Dallas Officer Executed. Wesley Ruiz, who was convicted in the fatal shooting of Dallas police Sr. Cpl. Mark Nix, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday night. In 2007, Ruiz shot at Nix when the officer attempted to break the vehicle’s passenger window after a high-speed chase. That shot splintered when it hit Nix’s badge, severing an artery. 

Dallas Police Identify Shooting Victim. Dallas police said that a man found fatally shot in a car on Tenison Parkway shortly after midnight Thursday has been identified as Jorge Martinez Lorenzo. Officers on patrol saw a car with multiple bullet holes near Samuell Grand Park, and found Lorenzo in the driver’s seat. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Dallas Fire-Rescue.

Happy Groundhog Day. It is Groundhog Day and, much like the movie, we’re getting some egregious repetition in the form of wintry precipitation and some wickedly stupid cold. School is out today, but you’ll probably want to bookmark this list to see if that will also be the case Friday. We’ll be watching the weather, road information, and closures as well.

Hank Hill Is Coming Back. Grab your pocket sand and get ready, Deadline is reporting that King of the Hill, set in the fictional Dallas suburb of Arlen, will be coming back for a revival season on Hulu. The reboot has been in the works since the cast reconnected during a 20th-anniversary celebration in 2017. The Emmy-winning series ran for 13 seasons on Fox before leaving the air in 2010.

Local News

Dallas County Under Ice Storm Warning as Day 4 of Wintry Weather Settles In

Bethany Erickson
By |
Chances are good your street looks like a skating rink, too. Bethany Erickson

Last Updated, 2/2, 7 a.m.

Good morning. Welcome to the fourth day of Winter Storm Mara, which dumped another blast of freezing rain on much of the metro area while you were sleeping. Temperatures are just about freezing and will creep up to 37 degrees today, which leaves the National Weather Service skeptical of much improvement on the roads until the sun comes out tomorrow.

The high on Friday will be 48, which will help thaw out the roads. The NWS believes we could see the accumulation of .1 of an inch of ice again today; the chance of rain is at 60 percent. Wednesday’s story is below. We’ll have a separate Thursday update later today.

It’s still cold, and it looks like that won’t change anytime soon, which means that you are probably still looking out at a solid sheet of ice on your street. 

The National Weather Service said early Wednesday morning that it revised its Ice Storm Warning to include Dallas County, after initially issuing it only for North Texas counties to the west of I-35W Tuesday night. Dallas is at risk of accumulating around half an inch of ice between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday. 

Forecasts for North Texas show that temperatures will not climb above freezing until Thursday. Freezing rain and regular old precipitation is expected to last off and on all day and evening. By Thursday morning, that precipitation will likely switch to rain only, and—good news—the high will reach the mid-30s, and remain above freezing all day. The NWS warned Wednesday morning that the packed ice on the roads would likely last through Thursday.

Local News

Leading Off (2/1/23)

Matt Goodman
By |

You Should Stay Home Again, If You Can. The National Weather Service extended an ice storm warning through this morning for the western part of Dallas-Fort Worth. We stayed in the 20s overnight, during which another half inch of ice settled onto the streets in some parts of the metro area. The freezing rain came while you were sleeping, and you can expect more freezing rain and sleet throughout the day. The high is about 32 and a low of 30, which means another day that we won’t be getting above freezing. Normal rain won’t come until Thursday after 10 a.m., once temperatures hike to a positively tropical 37 degrees. There are about 1,400 power outages across North Texas, which has knocked out power to about 51,290 customers. That’s not a result of the grid bottoming out; ice accumulation is causing tree branches to split off and break onto the power lines. DART has stopped running its streetcar from Oak Cliff to downtown and is warning riders of delays to buses and rail. The U.S. Postal Service has closed 44 branch locations and warned that carriers may not make their deliveries today. Meanwhile, ice on Interstate 20 backed up traffic for 20 miles through Palo Pinto and Parker counties after 18-wheelers couldn’t get traction. Closer to Dallas, a group of Jeeps helped pull dozens of semi trucks off Interstate 20. The Texas Department of Transportation is running crews 24 hours a day, clearing and treating roadways. And, of course, pretty much all the major school districts are shut down on Wednesday. We’ll keep you posted throughout the day.

Last Updated, 2/1, 6:30 p.m. This story was originally published on 1/31.

About a day after the Dallas Zoo reported two emperor tamarin monkeys missing from their enclosure, officials announced that the animals have been located and are back home safe. A Dallas police news bulletin said that the primates were found inside a closet in an abandoned home in Lancaster. The discovery came after a tip, police said.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to share that our two emperor tamarin monkeys have been found,” Dallas Zoo spokesperson Kari Streiber said. Dallas police found the monkeys Tuesday evening and called zoo staff to secure and transport them. They were later evaluated by the facility’s veterinarians.

Last Updated, 1/31, 6 p.m.

A wave of sleet and freezing rain moved in Tuesday morning in less than an hour, coating North Texas in ice. The National Weather Service warns that these conditions will continue, and the agency extended its winter storm warning for the area through Thursday morning.

The warning was originally expected to last through Wednesday morning, but the NWS says cooler temperatures make it unlikely that all this precipitation will be off the roads by then. The warning has been extended through 6 a.m. Thursday, and the agency warns that roads will “become impassable” on Tuesday.

Dallas-Fort Worth set a new daily snowfall record of 1.3 inches (so far) Tuesday, the NWS said. Sleet on the ground is measured as snowfall. The old record was 1.2 inches, and dates back to 1985. Tuesday afternoon, the NWS issued an Ice Storm Warning for North Texas counties west of I-35W, including Tarrant and Denton counties, warning that these areas could see half an inch of ice accumulation between Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday.

“Travel conditions will continue to worsen as additional sleet and freezing rain deteriorates roads areawide. Travel should be avoided if possible now through Wednesday,” the agency said. “Stay home! If you have to be out on the roads over the next couple of days, make sure to slow down, watch for ice/black ice, and to give yourself plenty of time for driving.”

During a brief lull in the sleet and freezing rain on Monday night, Texas Department of Transportation crews were out treating roadways. They will remain on 24-hour shifts throughout the worst of the driving conditions, the department said. 

Dallas Area Rapid Transit is treating bus and train station parking lots and walkways and has opened warming shelters at 11 transit centers and stations through 10 p.m. Those are below:

  • Addison Transit Center
  • CBD East Transfer Center
  • CBD West Transfer Center
  • Cockrell Hill Transfer Location
  • Downtown Garland Station
  • Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station
  • Illinois Station
  • J.B. Jackson Jr. Transit Center/MLK Jr. Station
  • Ledbetter Station
  • Parker Road Station
  • South Garland Transit Center

Dallas restaurateur Hunter Pond’s Colorado arrest warrant stems from an incident in which he allegedly spat on a woman’s face, threatened to pull her out of a car, and yelled at her to “just go fucking die,” according to Colorado district court records obtained by D Magazine. The incident was captured on surveillance video, which was not immediately available.

Pond’s warrant was first reported last week by WFAA-TV, but the circumstances that caused its issue remained a mystery until now. Colorado law allows police records to remain confidential in open cases; D Magazine obtained the document through a court clerk. Pond owns Vandelay Hospitality Group, the company that operates concepts Drake’s Hollywood, East Hampton Sandwich Company, Hudson House, Brentwood, Lucky’s Hot Chicken, and D.L. Mack’s.

In the absence of an official police narrative to explain the warrant, Pond’s attorneys sued the woman, claiming that she instigated the incident by driving recklessly near Pond and his family on a country road. The warrant was for two misdemeanor counts: “harassment: strike/shove/kick” and “disorderly conduct: offensive gesture.”

“The incident in Telluride, Colorado is unfortunate, and has nothing to do with Vandelay,” Pond attorney Jason Friedman told D in a statement last Friday. “Mr. Pond and his family are the victims, not the perpetrators. But for the actions of a reckless driver nearly hitting Mr. Pond and his family, there would be no incident.”

D obtained the affidavit and application for arrest warrant filed by Mountain Village Police Department in San Miguel County Court.

The stories told by the lawsuit and affidavit only partially overlap in chronology. Both agree that the incident began on the evening of October 15, with Pond and his family walking down the middle of Mountain Village Boulevard, a two-lane country road. Both agree that the woman who reported Pond to the police drove close to the Pond family, swerved to avoid them, and shouted at the family to get out of the roadway. (Both reports also agree that the road has no sidewalk, although Google Street View shows a nearby walking trail.)

According to the lawsuit Pond filed, Pond found the driver in her car farther down the road and “demanded an explanation for her recklessness.” (D Magazine is not naming the driver because she is the victim of an alleged crime. Neither she nor her attorney were able to be reached.)

The lawsuit’s chronology ends there. The police affidavit does not.

Dallas police have identified a person recorded in Dallas Zoo security camera footage that they feel may have information regarding the disappearance of two emperor tamarin monkeys.

The zoo announced Monday that the monkeys were missing from their “intentionally compromised” enclosure that morning. After an exhaustive search of the zoo campus, staff and police determined that the monkeys may have been taken from the zoo.

Tuesday morning, Dallas police released a photo of a man holding a bag of Doritos, possibly inside the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo. An accompanying video, police say, shows the same man, wearing a dark hoodie and pants, walking through the Zoo.

When asked for clarification, Dallas police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said that the man in the photo is not currently a suspect or person of interest. It is not clear when the recording was made or why police are interested in speaking with the man.

“The photo is being provided in hopes the public can help us identify the man,” she said. “Detectives are looking to speak with the man in regard to the two missing tamarin monkeys.”

The Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo is located in Zoo North, just steps from the Primate Place and the clouded leopard habitat. 

Local News

Leading Off (1/31/23)

Tim Rogers
By |

Snow! Maybe! The weather app on my phone, currently located in East Dallas, says it’s snowing at 6:55 and will continue to do so for the next hour. I don’t know. Looks and sounds more like sleet to me. In any case, we’re under a Winter Storm Warning until 6 a.m. tomorrow. According to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth: “Significant travel impacts expected. Stay home!” Lots of closures today. If you can, leave those screens, get outside, and tear an ACL trying to sled on a cookie sheet.

Luka Goes Off. An assistant coach on the Pistons bench started chirping at Luka Doncic in the first quarter. Luka responded by scoring 53 points, chirping back at the coach the entire game, and then, when the Pistons were done and dusted, asking that coach, “Who are you? Who are you?” He is such a treasure. (BTW, the DMN’s Brad Townsend made the chirping the fulcrum of his game report, as it should have been, but the Detroit News didn’t even mention it, which is dumb.)

Zoo Monkeys Still Missing. Bethany reported the story yesterday about the stolen monkeys. Today is Day No. 2 of the FrontBurner Monkey Vigil.

Boats Burn in Rockwall. I hope you didn’t have your boat docked at Chandler’s Landing Marina on Lake Ray Hubbard. A fire destroyed multiple boats there.

Dallas County Republicans Lobby for Paper Ballots. They say voting machines can’t be trusted. Also, they say that a duck floats on water and that if a woman does the same, she must be made of wood and is therefore a witch and should be burned.

Local News

The Dallas Zoo Suspects Two Emperor Tamarin Monkeys Have Been Abducted

Bethany Erickson
By |
Two emperor tamarin monkeys have been abducted from the Dallas Zoo, officials said January 30. Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo says it is missing two emperor tamarin monkeys and has reason to believe the primates have been abducted. The news comes days after the suspicious death of a lappet-faced vulture and about two weeks after a clouded leopard escaped after someone cut through its enclosure.

A statement from the zoo says its animal care team discovered the two monkeys missing Monday morning, and that “it was clear the habitat had been intentionally compromised.” The Dallas Police Department is investigating. The zoo was closed to the public on Monday.

Zoo officials say that emperor tamarins tend to stay close to home. Employees have searched near their habitat and across zoo grounds but did not locate them.

“Based on the Dallas Police Department’s initial assessment, they have reason to believe the tamarins were taken,” the statement says, adding that it has no further information at this time.